I want to take everyone all the way back to October third 2019 when the first ever episode of Ru Paul’s drag race UK was realised. This was a pivotal moment for the drag scene across Great Britain as the queens were able to showcase their art on a bigger platform than they previously had. The first season had a plethora of iconic moments ( such as Baga chips iconic “much Betta”, Gothy Kendall’s tiger face paint and the explosive exchange between Divina DeCampo and the eventual winner the Vivienne which I will talk more about later) was clearly very successfully as we are currently anticipating the four iterations of this drag race spin-off. As happens every season, we were introduced to a new batch of queens during this season with many of them going on to appear and actually win other versions of the show. The most iconic moment to come from this first ever British version of drag race would have to be the one and only frock destroyers which were made up of Divina DeCampo, Baga Chips and (the newly crowned queen of the world) Blu hydrangea. The trio found fame during a girl group challenge through their creation of the iconic “break up bye-bye’ that received many stream attention of music charts and still plays an essential part of my Spotify playlist! From this, they created an album called Frock 4 life (and a documentary on BBC IPlayer about the creation of the album during the COVID outbreak) which each should go listen to as it is full of absolute bangers! A few years later we saw two-thirds of this trio (namely Baga and blu) return to our screens for drag race UK vs the world yet a key part of this queer trinity was missing!
Just under a year ago, I attended my first ever fully produced drag show (that featured the unique pairing of Utica and Denali from drag race season thirteen and you can read all about at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/09/22/denali-and-utica-tour-review/) which I find absurd considering I have been a borderline obsessive fan of both drag race (that I write weekly reviews of for Nerdly!) and drag as an art form for many years. Since this point, I have attended many drag shows and so the next step on my drag journey is obviously getting meet and greet tickets which is exactly what we did! Around about Christmas, I was sent an offer for meet and greet tickets fir Divina De Camp’s latest show meaning that two tickets would cost only £28. Those who have been following my blog for a while will know that we really cherish celebrity interactions so the opportunity to meet Divina was a no-brainer. I was however initially worried about the interaction as I was not sure about what we would talk about for the brief moment we shared together. I would never had predicted that the conversation would veer into rocky horror and how it is a dream role for Divina. Both Divina and Matha Tucker (who we watched before while she hosted the Disney villains ball which you can read our thoughts in here https://rhysreviews.com/2021/11/02/disney-villians-ball-event-review/) helped to make me feel super comfortable and relaxed while in the stage and took a range of fabulous photos together! Mutha brought with her, her usual rude and crude humour while helping to host the evening and in fact zoned in one my guest for the evening which led to many hilarious moments. What I personally admire immensely about this queen is her ability to quickly transition from raunchy jokes to serious and important critics such as mentioning the importance of supporting local queens and not just Ru girls but also how pride is a protest and not just an excuse to get drunk in the park. She also appears to be an extremely kind and compassionate queen who helps with the logistics of both on and off stage which is very impressive!
After a short introduction from motha tucka, we were introduced to Alexis St Pete who is a queen I have heard a lot about but have never actually seen perform before clearly, I was the one missing out! Her first performance opened with a very sweet and in once lip sync to “bippity boppty bop” but suddenly the clock flew off her to reveal an much more sensual look underneath. Alexis did an incredible sensual performance of the iconic “S and M” by Rhianna which matched the true intentions of the songs perfectly. While I have heard this song played at kids’ parties, it is a very sexual songs and so choosing to deliver this in a way that fitted was a very clever choice by Alexis. She strutted across the stage, twisted and contorted her body in an effortless manner and even pulled out the drag queen equivalent of a top trump the splits! The two contrasting numbers really helped to amp up the sensual ness of the latter which again was a very clever choice! Her second performance in this show was even more high-energy (which I didn’t think was possible!) That hilariously started with a section of “A little bit Alexis” from Schits creek but quickly fused with “work bitch” by Brittney Spears. This later performance was punctuated with a thunderous split that launched her shoes and one of her lashes which helped to showcase an honest reflection of the struggles of performing in drag. Alexis however was unfazed by this during her performance and in fact, laughed about it after ]wards which shows this queen as a highly skilled professional! Dosa Cat is another queen that I have heard lots about but have never actually met before. Dosa delivered a very powerful performance that showcased her Bollywood influxes perfectly! The number started with Dosa hiding her face and revealing more and more as the number went on as if depicting development of confidence as the song went on! I am going to keep my eye on Dosa as her unique perspective on drag influences is clearly going to amount to incredible things in the very near future.
The main attraction for this evening however was obviously none other that Divina De Campo who reminded everyone throughout that she is one insanely talented vocalist! Her rendition of “Poor Wandering One” which she initially did while appearing on the voice, was so excellently performed that I believe it was better than the recorded version I have watched numerous times! I think my personally highlight however would have to be the series of camp classics that were selected by the audience for Divina to perform. The trio started with “All that Jazz” which was a clear nod to her recent appearance in Chicago, Cabaret complete with an interesting impression of Liza Minnelli and finally I am what I am which will forever remind me of the time I went in a night out with John Barrowman! The classy yet extremely camp songs were all excellently by Divina and if the randomness of these songs is to be believed means that she also has a plethora of other choices which are equally as great! The second act of this show served as an almost platform for Divina to promote her new music with one of my favourites being yet another drag race show that hilariously pokes fun at the copy and paste structure that many Ru Girls use in their music! There was really only one way that the entire night could come to an end and that was with a one-person rendition of the aforementioned break-up bye-bye. Not only did Divina perform each part (including her miraculous whistle tones), delivered the iconic choreography (including the iconic splits during her verse) but was also able to amend the rhythms to further show of of how talented she really is! While we are talking about talent we must mention Divina’s pianist for the evening Rick who was not able to play flawlessly through despite the occasional slip-ups by both performers but also took a turn hosting with Divina was changing and delivered many chuckle-worthy jokes throughout the show!
If there is one qualm to be had with this show it was the fact that the overarching theme did become somewhat muddled as the show progressed. It was clear that the initial stages of the show were purposefully space inspired with the branding depicting Divina straddling a rocket, her first look being a gorgeous space suit and the performances being split up with hilarious captain logs. However (as both Rick and Divina noted) the story of travelling through space but landing in a local pub where three old queens put Divina through a series of camp classic performances to then be in oz and then the red wig and silver dress land did become very confusing. Now … do I think that every drag show must have a cohesive narrative, no but if you are going to craft a show with such an overarching theme then it must be consistent throughout. I personally like the idea of Divina and the shows lineup running a drag gauntlet (loosely based on her life) where they must conquer the older queens with camp classics, outdance the baby queens and out singing a set of performers (keeping the nod to the DDC’s time on the show) with the climax being Divina finally getting the win that many people believe was stolen from her on drag race UK season two by coming together as a team and overcoming a boss. If you make the Vivienne the final boss (due to her actual win in the season) You could keep break-up bye-bye as the final song and joke that this is the Vivienne’s kryptonite as she struggled severely with this challenge on the season! This idea would help tie together the performance from Alexis st Pete (who is a gifted performer), Divina (who is famously able to sing across four and a half octaves, in five different languages all while doing the splits) and could easily have included Dosa cat and Mutha Tucker too! If the team are looking for a new writer then you know where to find me!
Overall. It is clear that Divina has carefully considered what it is that made her such a beloved queen during her original run on Ru Paul’s drag race UK season one. Her incredible vocal performances (of both camp classics and her new releases) are interspersed with groan-worth jokes that not only help to structure the show but also makes the show so uniquely Divina. The other queens on the tour each showcase a different style of drag/performance which for the audience makes for a very cohesive and well-rounded show! I would rate the red wig and silver dress tour 4 out of 5 stars!